The Shrine – Space Steppin to the Orange Peel on September 6th

The Shrine

The Shrine (left to right) drummer Jeff Murphy, guitarist/vocalist Josh Landau & bassist Courtland Murphy

Don’t attempt to categorize or bucket Venice, California trio The Shrine into one genre or another as their sound sonically traverses across metal, punk, psychedelia, hardcore, thrash and just straight forward hard hitting rock n roll at times. The band has even personally coined the term, “psychedelic violence” to describe the beautiful chaos that is The Shrine.

Comprised of of lead singer and guitar player Josh Landau, bassist Court Murphy and drummer Jeff Murray The Shrine, formed in 2008, have released three studio efforts to date, 2012’s Primitive Blast, their sophomore effort 2014’s Bless Off and last year’s Rare Breed, which just may be one of the most underrated albums of the last decade.

The Shrine have already had quite the summer playing to thousands across the pond at festivals such as Download in England and Hellfest in France where they shared the same bill with rock heavyweights and royalty such as Black Sabbath, Anthrax and Rammstein.

This upcoming Tuesday September 6th The Shrine will be parking the van outside the Orange Peel’s doors to play alongside Portland, Oregon stoner-prog outfit Danava and headliners, U.K. psych rockers Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats.

There’s quite a bit of retro embedded deep within The Shrine’s DNA.  Listening to their music it’s not surprising at all to learn that the southern California based rockers cite 70’s heroes such as Thin Lizzy and Black Sabbath as influences.

Although the band pays some homage to these more classic rock sounds The Shrine certainly aren’t afraid to incorporate more punk based elements into their music as echoes of Black Fag, Bad Brains and Minor Threat also seem to permeate throughout their recordings.

“I grew up on Black Flag and you can just follow that backwards a bit to bands like Black Sabbath, Hendrix MC5, The Stooges and even 70’s hard rock like Budgie and Thin Lizzy”, said lead singer and guitarist Josh Landau while explaining what helped shaped him early on as a musician.

Rare Breed, The Shrine’s first major studio release (Century Media), was produced by one of the legends in the recording industry, Dave Jerden.   Jerden has worked with everyone from the Rolling Stones to Frank Zappa while also being the man behind the board for such iconic 90’s era records from the likes Alice in Chains, Jane’s Addiction, Social Distortion and the Offspring.

“One of our records was spinning at this guitar shop near our place and Dave Jerden was in the store and he asked our buddy that worked there about us.  We ended up meeting him and he said that he wanted to do your next record and asked if he could come over to our house,” discussed Landau as he explained how the band came to be signed to Century Media as well as how they first came into contact with producer Dave Jerden.

I could imagine working with a producer of Jerden’s ilk and recording history that The Shrine may have been intimidated about working with him but this turned out to not be the case at all.

“All the previous stuff we had actually recorded before we had done in our garage ourselves where I produced it.   It (Rare Breed) was definitely more of a serious production than we had ever done before.  He (Jerden) didn’t really tweak the songs at all but the way the record is mixed those were his choices, his sound and everyone was happy with how it all ended up coming together.”

When I sit back and listen to “Rare Breed” the record almost comes alive as if it’s a living and breathing soundtrack to a 1970’s New York City gang war I’d like to somehow and try to get in on.  If there’s a band that’s literally meant to score a remake of the 1979 cult classic The Warriors, it has to be The Shrine.

“That’s kind of where our inspiration is coming from, from like the 70s where every song had a different kind of color to it and the albums all had kind of one main story tying them together,” explained Landau while laughing a bit.

Playing the European festival circuit has to be a rush for any band as who couldn’t imagine being stoked to play in front of tens of thousands of screaming crazies, however, The Shrine strikes me as a band that would probably get more of a kick playing a gas station bathroom or a friend’s house party.

“It definitely changes our approach.  You almost have to pretend you’re 12-years- old playing in front of your bedroom mirror again because the audience seems so far away,” said Landau as he touched on the topic of playing to much larger audiences than The Shrine has typically been accustomed to recently.

The band is only a few dates into their current tour with Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats and Danava with the former being known for having a fairly hard core and die hard fan base.  I was curious as to whether or not the audiences at their recent shows had embraced The Shrine.

Landau answered, “It’s been good.  People are stoked and they come out and buy our records and we kind of get the same positive response no matter what.  People seem to be digging what we’re doing whether it’s us opening up for Uncle Acid on this tour or with other bands like the tour we did with Clutch.”

The show this Tuesday September 6th at the Orange Peel is one that will reward audience members for showing up early as The Shrine will be the first band to hit the stage followed by Danava and then headliners Uncle Acid and Deadbeats.   Door are at 7:00 PM with the show starting at 8:00 PM.  Ticket prices are $18 in advance, $22 day of show.

Orange Peel Ticket Link:

Do you think you’d like some Black Sabbath meets Thin Lizzy meets Motörhead meets Kyuss meets Black Flag inspired tunes? If so check these songs out off of Rare Breed from The Shrine:  “Space Steppin” / “Dusted and Busted”

The Shrine Links:

One for the Road – Pearl Jam – Greenville, SC – 4/16/2016

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Eddie Vedder & Pearl Jam – Bon Secours Wellness Arena – Greenville, SC – 4/16/2016

All photos courtesy of Carol Spagnuola / Written By Robert Forte

The members of Pearl Jam may all have reached the mid-century mark in terms of age but both their material and live performance seem to be aging even more gracefully than the wine Eddie Vedder often carries with him on stage as the band is about to launch into that evening’s particular performance.

Pearl Jam is not currently out touring in support of a new record as their latest studio release still remains the critically as well as fan community well received Lighting Bolt record put out back in 2013.

Instead the band is yet again simply embarking on one of their annual musical sojourns that their fans have not only come to expect but have most waiting by their smart-phones, tablets and perhaps tomato cans attached to strings eagerly anticipating the current year’s tour dates so that they can begin making their travel plans and formulating excuses to give to their bosses for some last minute unexpected days off from work.

Few souls probably could have predicated that nearly 25 years ago when Pearl Jam released their debut album Ten that helped not only launch the grunge movement but put the final spike in the heart of the hair metal craze, that the band would  become a modern day version of a touring Grateful Dead.

The parallel may not be there musically but in terms of sheer devotion that borders much closer to worship than fandom and the fact that droves of 40 and 50 somethings’ plan their lives around which and how may Pearl Jams shows they can attend in any particular year, there seems to be more similarities between Pearl Jam and Dead fans than one might initially consider.

Despite having somewhat of “jam band” type of following it’s paramount to recognize from the outset that Pearl Jam has and forever will be a rock n’ roll band.

Should one need any evidence to support the aforementioned statement I submit for consideration the band’s 33-song, nearly 3-hour long set in that included not one but two epic encores to serve as proof that Pearl Jam doesn’t just carry the rock n’ roll torch, they’re burning it bright enough for astronauts to see from the dark side of the moon.

For just the second time in the band’s live performance history Pearl Jam delighted the crowd by performing one of their records in its entirety, this time choosing to run through every track off one of their most memorable records, 1993’s Vs.

Pearl Jam offered up inspiring versions of such classics off of Vs. including “Animal”, “Daughter” “Dissident” “Go” as well as a playful take on a song Vedder referenced that he disliked when he was initially tooling around with it on guitar but that Stone Gossard thought was “wicked”, “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town”.

By the time Pearl Jam took their first break of the evening the band had already played an incredible 19 songs. ripping through all of Vs., four songs of of Lighting Bolt, two off of Vitalogy, one of which being “Corduroy” (which had served as the night’s opening salvo) as well as a singular track off of 1998’s Yield “Do the Evolution”.

The blistering pace of the first set gave way to a bit more initially subdued back half of the performance that included the band giving some personal fan shout-outs that included a dedication to an individual battling cancer, “Future Days” and another in “Present Tense” to an audience member that was requesting they play “Inside Job” to remember the victims of the 2007 Virginia Tech campus shooting.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of Pearl Jam’s first encore came in the form of their take on the Pink Floyd classic, “Comfortably Numb” which saw Mike McCready unleash his inner David Gilmour on the track’s signature guitar solo.

Following an electric version of “Porch”, which wound up being only one of two songs off of Pearl Jam’s debut record Ten to make it into the evening’s set list, the band took their second and final break off the evening.

Upon returning to the stage for one last time Vedder and company had a trick up their sleeves for the fans seated behind the main stage, all of whom had a mostly obstructed view of the band all evening long.

The boys in Pearl Jam chose to kick off the final encore by turning around to those fans who had been staring at the band’s backsides for over two hours to play the Wayne Cochran cover the band had recorded in 1999 for the charity record No Boundaries: A Benefit for the Kosovar Refugees, “Last Kiss”.

At one point during the song McCready jumped into the stands to get up close and personal with some clearly awe-struck fans.  At the song’s conclusion the band’s lead guitarist also reached into his pockets to dish out a handful of  picks to some of the faithful lucky enough to literally  be in the right place at the right time.

Pearl Jam closed out the night’s festivities by offering up fans a few more favorites including “Betterman”, a hard-charging take on “Alive” which had the entire arena on the edge of their seats singing every word of the song back to their heroes up on stage and by also taking a run at the Who classic “Baba O’Riley”.

After nearly a three-hour marathon of a show the evening concluded with a performance of song that never actually made it onto an official Pearl Jam release but one that seems to continue hold a special place in many of their fans’ hearts, “Yellow Ledbetter”.

Pearl Jam continues to be one of the very few rock bands capable of not just continuing to deliver genre defining records but dynamic, diverse and coliseum shaking rock shows that give their fan base so much fuel for what appears to be an unquenchable thirst for each and every note of music the band offers up for to them to digest.

Last Saturday’s concert by Pearl Jam at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolna helped serve notice to the band’s mass of followers that they’re showing no signs of slowing down at any point in the near term and that if anything, they have a decade or more of live greatness by the Seattle quintet to look forward to.

The show also cemented the fact that few if any rock bands touring today can’t even come close to holding a candle to the live musical acumen, energy and quality of performance Eddie, Stone, Mike, Matt, Jeff display each and every time they hit the lighted stage to perform with one another.  Well played Pearl Jam, well played.

Slice of the Peel / Ty Segall and The Mugggers / February 24, 2016


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Ty Segall & The Muggers – The Orange Peel – Asheville, NC – February 24, 2015

Ty Segall’s music is eclectic, thought provoking and quite frankly beyond weird at times.

Segall doesn’t seem to be making records with the intent of achieving rock star status, to please any particular fan base nor to reap a huge financial windfall.

I’m fairly certain Segall’s only mission may be to amuse himself and the fact that a segment of music fans around the globe happen to enjoy his musings is probably more or less collateral damage than any actual intended outcome.

Throw a rock in Asheville and you’re likely to hit numerous playing jam rock, bluegrass, Americana, folk, funk and even jazz.  Most nights you’d need a boulder and be able to heave it fifty to two-hundred miles to hit anything close to a straight forward rock and roll show in the city.  Enter Segall who brought his current touring outfit the Muggers along with him to the Orange Peel this past week.

Having never attended a live performance by Segall I wasn’t too sure as to what to expect as his recorded music is literally a cornucopia of soundscapes with each of his eight solo releases differing from one another, sometimes acutely while at other times drastically.

What I ended up witnessing on the evening was a wave of musical ferocity delivered with a sledgehammer albeit with a touch of farce that allowed the show to be much more easily accessible to Segall newbies such as myself.

Segall eschewed playing any instrument himself instead choosing to serve as more or less the ring leader to his on stage troupe The Muggers most of the night.

Choosing to take the form of his most recent alter ego Sloppo, defined by the menacing and somewhat disturbing rubber baby mask Segall dawns to complete the transformation, the front man was beyond engaging throughout the nearly two-hour performance.

It’s difficult to define the show in any singular context as at times the vibe felt aggressive and cantankerous while also delivering moments of humor and warmth albeit in a very abstract and playfully aberrant kind of way.

The first half of the show featured the band nearly playing Segall’s latest release Emotional Mugger in it’s entirety.  Normally when an act chooses to play a large chunk of new music at a live show, let alone nearly a whole album of it, fans often don’t respond too well as they simply aren’t connected to the songs being performed on stage.

This may be the hidden beauty behind Segall as his fans seem to be as bound to him personally as they are to any particular music he may play in a live setting. This condition allowed the initial portion of the concert that focused on recently released new material to be as super charged and as wildly entertaining as the back half of the show.

Throughout the concert Segall engaged with the crowd, sometimes directly through various oddball musings such as when he decided to convey how many eggs he could eat at breakfast.

At other times Segall was able to establish an almost eerie symbiotic amalgamation with the audience by just mindlessly posing and starring blankly out in the abyss of screams and hands desperately trying to reach out to him.

I’m sure many long time fans of Segall’s music were beyond thrilled that the second half of the evening’s performance focused more on the enigmatic singer’s previous releases with a few highlights being “Thank God for the Sinners”, “Spiders” and “Manipulator”.

Ty Segall’s show at the Orange Peel injected Asheville with a long overdue shot of sheer rock force that unfortunately the city’s live music scene doesn’t nearly get enough.   I’d be lying though if I didn’t confess that the performance also kind of creeped me out a bit, however, I have a feeling Segall is perfectly okay with this as creeping people out may actually be part of his master plan.


One to Attend – Andrew Scotchie’s 23rd Birthday Bash – Saturday January 16, 2016


Tomorrow night I strongly encourage folks to get over to the ISIS Music Hall to take in Andrew Scotchie’s birthday show which will feature a performance by Scotchie’s own rock outfit Andrew Scotchie and the River Rats, sublime singer-song writer Danielle Howle and progressive funk-rock band Porch 40.

Fans who attend will also have the opportunity witness to a few unique collaborations between Scotchie and local Asheville musicians such as David Earl Tomlinson, Jack Mascari, Noah Larssen and others.

Although tomorrow’s show is being billed as Scotchie’s 23rd birthday bash, the event will also be taking place with the underlining theme of celebrating the life of Scotchie’s father Tom, whose life was tragically cut short back in 2008.

Back in September I interviewed Scotchie and he briefly touched on his father’s passing and how it affected him and his music.

“My life got turned upside down when I was 15 when my dad was shot and killed in West Asheville.  That was the worst thing that had ever happened to me.   That fucked up horrible event in a way made me who I am today, it made me want to do this thing so adamantly and with so much vigor,” Scotchie somberly discussed.

“I’ve been writing about that event for years and what it has taught me about people and family.  The first album we released in 2012, the songs were not sad but the lyrics I wrote for it were more about helping me work through what had happened.   Even the new album has notes alluding to it as I’m definitely still working through it all because that’s who I am but it’s coming from a much different place now.”

Scotchie is the type of individual that revels in life, good times and the continued pursuit of great rock and roll.   Come out tomorrow night to help him continue to pursue those endeavors, to take in a some great live music and to help him celebrate the life and times of Tom Scotchie, who by all accounts had a tremendously positive impact on his family, friends and the Asheville community his family still calls home.

I have a sneaky suspicion that somewhere in the interstellar planes that we all eventually drift into Tom will be smiling, rocking out and feeling a tremendous amount of pride as he looks down on his son Andrew knowing that he’s turned out to be one hell of a musician and even more importantly, one hell of a human being.

Who:     Andrew Scotchie and the River Rats, Danielle Howle and Porch 40 + special guests

When:   Saturday January 16, 2016  /  Show 9:00 PM

Where:  ISIS Music Hall /  743 Haywood Road

Cost:      $10 advance/  $12 Day of Show

You’re Going to Know His Name – Marcus King – The Marcus King Band

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The Marcus King Band performing at the Orange Peel on December 3, 2015

Standing at the corner of Biltmore and Hilliard in front of the Orange Peel where Marcus King and his band would later play, a white van towing a trailer begins veering closer to my position as I flick a few ashes of my first cigarette of the day toward the concrete walkway.

The vehicle slowly drives past me taking a wide right onto Hilliard when a mane of flowing golden brown hair pops out of the passenger’s side window and out bellows this singular word, “Bob.”

The individual behind this street corner drive by shout out turns out to be Marcus King himself, welcoming me in his own unique way, as he had invited me to the band’s sound check for their headlining performance at the 14th Annual Make-A-Wish benefit concert.

The van parks curb side and one by one King and his fellow band mates in the Marcus King Band, Jack Ryan (drums), Justin Johnson (trombone/trumpet), Matt Jennings (organ) and Stephen Campbell (bass) stumble out, each greeting me with a variety of handshakes, hugs and head nods as they begin to unload their gear and the process of hauling it into the belly of the Orange Peel.

A short amount of time passes before King and the remainder of the band take to the Peel’s stage. King himself is heavily involved with the process of arranging the band’s gear and the sound checking of each and every instrument.

He’s methodical and deliberate, patiently thinking out each move as if he’s playing a game a musical chess in his own head. At one point, prior to the full fledged band sound check, King makes his way over to Jennings and the two share a few words as King plays a few notes on Jennings instrument of choice, the organ.

This interaction provides a moment of levity while also seemingly being an integral part of King’s primary mission, to make sure he’s personally doing everything possible to ensure that the band puts on a performance worthy of the audience paying to see the band later that evening.

Following sound check I find myself immersed in a musical oriented conversation to the side of the stage about drumming with local musician Christopher Chappell Pyle, son of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and drummer for Lynyrd Skynrd, Atrimus Pyle, both of whom will be performing later that night as well.   To the right of Chappell Pyle and I King is seated atop a bar stool strumming what I think may be a 1973 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe.

While fiddling around on the instrument King mentions to another individual how the brand’s quality greatly declined following the sale of the company back in the early 1970’s.   King is referring to Gibson being taking over by Norlin Musical Instruments in 1974, which coincided with a widely held industry opinion that Gibson Les Paul guitars would never be the same following this transition.

Normally I might take this kind of musical observation coming from a nineteen-year-old as aberrant, however, as it pertains to King’s playing and the man himself both come off as old soul oriented and wise beyond their years.  The fact that King knows the history of the Gibson Les Paul company thus comes off to me as entirely appropriate.

Following a brief conversation with his girlfriend outside of the Orange Peel King agrees to walk me north towards Nightbell, the Asheville eatery I had chose for our sit down.

Marcus King is what most would refer to as a prodigious talent.  The sheer mastery of blues, soul, R&B and rock guitar is something that even the vast majority of the greatest players on this planet today spend a lifetime honing.

However, for a select few, their talent seems destined from the womb, seemingly passed onto them genetically via tiny musical specs of DNA. Count King among these individuals as anyone that bares witness to King performing will surely walk away with the opinion that this man was literally born, if not preordained, to wield an axe on stage.

Those facts not withstanding it comes as no surprise to find that King is a direct descendant of musicians.  His father Marvin King, a respected blues guitar player in his own right and his grandfather Bill King, who played guitar as well, were both instrumental in King’s musical journey.

“The first guitar I ever really owned was a Squier Stratocaster that I got from my dad on my seventh birthday but prior to that I think I was playing a miniature scale Les Paul,” said King.

King continued while laughing, “I remember vividly most of my friends wanting to play outside when I was a kid but all I ever really wanted to do was play that guitar.”

It’s not entirely uncommon for relatives and parents when they see children having a knack or a talent for something at a young age to push them a bit as youths.  King explained that his experience was quite divergent from this line of action.

“They (King’s father and grandfather) were never pushy, they just strongly motivated me,” said King.

King further mused on topic, “I think they saw what I saw, that music could be a positive thing.  Kids go through some hard times and for me adolescence was a real bitch and having an outlet to put all of that into was really great. I think that they saw I wanted it as much as they did when they were young.”

King’s grandfather passed away a few years back but when King spoke about him it was apparent that the man was still very much in the forefront of King’s thoughts.

“My grandfather was really influential in my life.  He taught me how to be humble and how to listen rather than just being another guy that was playing on top of everyone else.  He really helped me become a more well rounded musician,” said King.

King further went on to talk about his musical lineage, “My father was really the same way.  He schooled me on the “Three Kings” (Freddie King, Albert King and B.B. King) the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and all that great stuff.”

Marvin King did not push his son towards the lighted stage as it’s something King seemed to have known he wanted for himself even as toddler.

“I think I was two when I first went up on stage with my dad with this fake guitar strapped around my neck.  I was on stage with my dad my whole childhood but I didn’t start actually seriously playing with his band until I was about eleven years-old,” explained King.

One would think based on King’s talent as well as his familiarity and comfort with live performance at such a young age that at some point he’d seek to carve out his own musical path.

King would end up starting his own band at the age of thirteen called Simultaneous Groove.  Simultaneous Groove over time would eventually slowly morph into the Marcus King Band fans see on stage today.

King said, “I think the first time the band that exists today played together was at Smith’s Olde Bar in Atlanta in October of 2014.  We only played in front of like seven or eight people that night but the chemistry on stage was really fun.”

King hails from nearby Greenville, South Carolina and it’s somewhat widely known that he and the band consider Asheville a sister city.  Considering King’s relationship with Asheville and some of its local musicians I’m not surprised to learn that it was through mutual acquaintances that Warren Haynes, of the Allman Brothers and Gov’t Mule fame, was eventually introduced to King’s music directly.

King went on to talk about how his and Haynes relationship came to fruition.

“We played the Jam by Day at the Christmas Jam last year and at that time I didn’t realize that performance was going to be kind of a live audition. Ever since then we’ve been working together and Warren’s been a really great friend and mentor and it’s such a great thing to have,” said King.

Fans won’t have to wait too long before they get a taste of new music from the Marcus King Band as they plan to go back into the studio this upcoming January with Haynes himself producing the band’s sophomore release.  The band’s debut LP, Soul Insight, was just recently released this past October by Haynes’s own label, Evil Teen Records.

King at the wise old age of a nineteen is both reticent and unpretentious as well as one of the most gifted musicians you’ll ever have the pleasure to come across.  I’m guessing King is what all of us at some point in our lives wished we would or could aspire to, talented, appreciated, humble and honest.

Another thing that helps to separate King from countless musicians who see their star on rise is that when speaking he won’t go too long without expressing an immense sense of gratitude and praise for his family and the people he’s surrounded by that have and continue to help him and the band move forward.

I would think this sense of genuine humility ingrained within King will not only help to keep him grounded but it’s something that I’d bet his grandfather and father are as much proud of as they are of his extraordinary talent.

Renowned guitar player Gary Clark Jr. has a single, “Bright Lights”, that contains these lyrics, “You’re going to know my name.”

I’m not sure that I could write any words that would be more applicable to King himself because I feel beyond confident that it won’t be very long before millions of fans around the globe are going to know the name Marcus King.

Seasons greetings and don’t forget to check out the Marcus King Band and many other great acts taking part in this year’s Christmas Jam by Day being hosted by the One Stop and the Asheville Music Hall this upcoming Saturday December 12th.

Who:         The Marcus King Band

When:       Saturday December 12, 2015 / Afternoon 12 PM – 5 PM

Where:      Asheville Music Hall / One Stop

Cost:          $10

Additional Performances by:  Andrew Scotchie and The River Rats, ChessBoxer, Jahman Brahman, Love Canon, Lyric, Red Honey, Travers Brothership, Trouble ft. Shane Pruitt & Aaron Wood and Urban Soil.